Cricket facing its own climate test

Cricket facing its own climate test
Spectators sit under plastic sheets as the match between Pakistan and New Zealand during their Twenty20 international at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium on April 18, 2024 was stopped due to rain. (AFP)
Short Url
Updated 25 April 2024
Follow

Cricket facing its own climate test

Cricket facing its own climate test
  • With international cricket played throughout the year, the probability of matches being affected by adverse weather has increased

Rain is the scourge of cricket. It has the capacity to whip up conflicting feelings. Players may feel that it has rescued their team from looming defeat or denied them of certain victory.

Spectators may feel the same way but will not have the cover of a pavilion or dressing room in which to shelter. Furthermore, they are likely to feel deprived of part of their entrance fee. These feelings used to be commonly associated with cricket in the British Isles. This may still linger, given the wet start to the 2024 county cricket season, but it is no longer universally the case.

In the UAE, of all places, a year of rain is reported to have fallen in 24 hours, from late Monday to Tuesday. At 3 p.m. on Monday it was as dark as the night. Some reports suggested that cloud seeding was the cause, but why might that have been deployed at that time of year? The EU’s Copernicus Climate Change Service reports that the Earth recorded its hottest March on record, the 10th consecutive month to reach that feat. These all-time monthly highs were observed both in the air and in water. The Copernicus report judged that the temperatures were the result of decades of human-caused warming and El Nino climate patterns.

Obtaining a consensus on the causes seems beyond reach, although data points to an extraordinary surge in temperatures around the planet. This may stop once El Nino patterns end and temperatures cool. It is not yet possible to know if a fundamental shift has occurred in the Earth’s climate. In this uncertain moment, longer-term decisions have to be made by those responsible for running cricket.

An example of this is real in Worcester, England. Since 1896, Worcestershire County Cricket Club’s home has been at New Road, nestling under the watchful eye of the neighboring cathedral. This provides it with iconic status in the eyes of the cricketing world. The ground also sits on the west bank of the River Severn which, in recent years, has flooded with increasing regularity. This season, the county’s first two matches cannot be played there because the ground has not recovered from the winter’s flooding. Instead, they will be played at Kidderminster, 25km north.

The increased frequency and severity of flooding is causing the club’s management to assess alternative options to sustain its future. Amongst these are improved flood-alleviation measures and a move away from New Road, a prospect that is anathema to many supporters. The city is mindful of what happened to its soccer and rugby teams. The former moved grounds in 2013, resulting in a nomadic existence for a decade and a drop of three levels in the game’s pyramid. Its rugby team entered receivership in October 2022.

This sorrowful tale, thrown into stark perspective for Worcestershire CCC by adverse climate events, differs from the effects of adverse weather in other parts of the world. In the UAE, the effects were to cause the cancellation of a quadrangular tournament between the women’s T20 teams of the UAE, the US, the Netherlands and Scotland in Abu Dhabi. This was planned as a warm-up event before the ICC women’s T20I qualifying tournament in Abu Dhabi, set to open on April 25. Players have been deprived of valuable match practice, but that deprivation pales against that suffered by local residents.

During the Asia Premier Cup in Oman, there was rain, not of UAE proportions, but sufficient to disrupt some matches. The urbane curator of south Indian descent, Annop C Kandy, remarked that he had rarely seen rain in his eight years in charge and would normally expect temperatures in the 40°C range during April — an antidote to notions of a warming planet. He also revealed that whatever rain did fall came from the west and was short-lived. Unusually, this rain was from the south and southeast.

It caused much work for the curator and his staff, who coped admirably, notably when placing covers over the pitches during heavy windy conditions. Six of the 24 matches were shortened, two to 18 overs, two to 15 overs, one to 11 overs and one to eight overs. The last one affected Saudi Arabia and Nepal, with the latter winning with four balls to spare. It will never be known how the match would have played out if 20 overs had been possible.

Given that international cricket is now played around the world throughout the year, it should be no surprise that the probability of matches being affected by adverse weather has increased. It also seems that the severity of the impact is increasing. A recent example of this has occurred in Scotland. Unprecedented poor weather delayed pitch preparation at a ground near Dundee where a Cricket World Cup League 2 tournament between Scotland, Namibia and Oman was postponed. Originally due to take place between May 2 and 12, it is now scheduled for July, with the agreement of the three countries and the International Cricket Council.

It should not be forgotten that the 2023 Indian Premier League final was affected by rain in Ahmedabad. The match was originally scheduled to be played on May 28, but was postponed to the reserve day, May 29. This was the first time that the IPL final had been postponed because of adverse weather. Chennai Super Kings’ response was delayed for over an hour by rain and then the target adjusted with the innings being reduced to 15 overs. This outcome for a showpiece final was not ideal.

Although rain is regarded as cricket’s traditional bete noire, other climate issues have begun to be felt. During the ODI World Cup in India last November, extreme heat levels affected players, as did very high levels of air pollution, especially in Delhi. Cricketers and their administrators can do little to prevent the causes of these problems. What they are faced with is the need to devise and adopt measures which ameliorate the impact of climate issues and enhance the game’s sustainability. This may be about to get more difficult.


India makes 196 and beats Bangladesh by 50 at Twenty20 World Cup

India makes 196 and beats Bangladesh by 50 at Twenty20 World Cup
Updated 50 sec ago
Follow

India makes 196 and beats Bangladesh by 50 at Twenty20 World Cup

India makes 196 and beats Bangladesh by 50 at Twenty20 World Cup
  • Put into bat, India started quick as captain Rohit Sharma scored 23 off 11 balls
  • Virat Kohli added 37 off 28, hitting three sixes

NORTH SOUND, Antigua: Hardik Pandya blasted Bangladesh with a 27-ball half-century and Kuldeep Yadav’s three wickets finished off India’s win at the Twenty20 World Cup on Saturday.
Pandya struck four boundaries and three sixes in an unbeaten 50 to lead India to 196-5.
Yadav then took 3-19 in four overs to limit Bangladesh to 146-8.
India moved to the top of Group 1 in the Super Eight with two wins from two matches. Bangladesh was winless.
Put into bat, India started quick as captain Rohit Sharma scored 23 off 11 balls. Virat Kohli added 37 off 28, hitting three sixes. The duo put on 39 off 22 balls for India’s best opening stand in the tournament.
Sharma was caught in the fourth over off Shakib al Hasan, while Kohli put on another 32 off 27 balls with Rishabh Pant for the second wicket.
Tanzim Hasan Sakib struck twice in the ninth over, getting Kohli and Suryakumar Yadav for 6 as India slumped to 77-3.
But Rishabh Pant anchored one end with 36 off 24, including four fours and two sixes, putting on 31 off 19 balls with Shivam Dube.
Despite Pant’s dismissal in the 12th over, Dube’s prowess against spin came in handy — he hit three sixes, scoring 34 off 24 balls.
But it was Pandya who took charge in the death overs. India scored 62 runs in the last five overs.
Pandya was named player of the match.
“We have played some really good cricket (to win five straight games),” he said. “We have executed our plans well, but as a group we can still improve. We sometimes lose wickets in a bunch, but apart from that things are looking good.”
Bangladesh’s reply made a steady start. Openers Litton Das (13) and Tanzid Hasan (29) added 35 off 27 until Pandya got the breakthrough in the fifth over.
The Tigers were at 66-2 in the 10th over and scoring slower. The chase unraveled when Yadav came on to bowl. He trapped Hasan lbw, and dismissed Towhid Hridoy for 4 and claimed the big wicket of Shakib for 11.
Bangladesh lost three wickets for 32 runs across 24 balls and didn’t recover.
Pace bowlers Jasprit Bumrah (2-13) and Arshdeep Singh (2-30) helped to seal India’s fifth win over Bangladesh in the T20 World Cup.


Afghanistan stun Australia with 21-run T20 World Cup win

Afghanistan stun Australia with 21-run T20 World Cup win
Updated 9 min 11 sec ago
Follow

Afghanistan stun Australia with 21-run T20 World Cup win

Afghanistan stun Australia with 21-run T20 World Cup win
  • Afghanistan made 148-6 and then bowled out their opponents for 127 in 19.2 overs for their first ever victory over the Australians

ARNOS VALE, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines: Gulbadin Naib was Afghanistan’s man with the golden arm, bowling his team to a surprise 21-run victory over previously unbeaten Australia in their Group One Super Eight encounter in the T20 World Cup at the Arnos Vale Stadium on Saturday.

Set a target of 149, Glenn Maxwell (59 off 41 balls, six fours, three sixes) had the Test and One-Day champions on course until he became Gulbadin’s third wicket in the 15th over, opening the door to a result which keeps the duel for semifinal spots alive going into the final two fixtures in the group on Monday.

Gulbadin finished with four for 20 from his four overs of medium pace to turn the match as Australia suffered their first-ever defeat to the Afghans in a senior international encounter, being dismissed for 127 with four balls left in the match.

“It is a great moment for me, my nation, my people,” said an exultant Gulbadin on receiving the Man of the Match award. “I learned a lot about the pitch from when we batted and I am glad that (captain) Rashid (Khan) had faith in me.”

Earlier, Pat Cummins claimed his second hat-trick in as many matches as Afghanistan lost momentum after another century opening stand from Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Ibrahim Zadran, settling for a total of 148 for six having been put in.

A top score of 60 off 49 balls (four fours, four sixes) by Gurbaz and 51 off 48 balls (six fours) from Zadran gave the Afghans an excellent platform of 118 — their third century partnership of the tournament — by the 16th over.

But having ridden their luck via half-chances and misfields in gaining the ascendancy, four wickets for eight runs put the innings back in the balance. Marcus Stoinis made the breakthrough and leg-spinner Adam Zampa applied the brakes with two wickets.

Yet it was Cummins, who claimed a hat-trick against Bangladesh against in Antigua on Thursday, who essentially switched off the Afghanistan innings with the wicket of Rashid Khan at the end of the 18th over before adding Karim Janat and eventual hero Gulbadin at the start of the 20th over.

“It was an off night for us in the field and we own that,” conceded Australian captain Mitchell Marsh. “We knew it was a difficult wicket but both teams bowled on it, both teams batted on it and we were simply outplayed by a better team on the night.”

In reflecting on a historic night for his team, Rashid acknowledged the reward of returning to the opening pair of Gurbaz and Zadran.

“It was important to return to the previous playing eleven after we tried a few different things in the last match against India,” he explained. “We had in our minds that 140 was a good total on this wicket. The belief was there and as a captain, having so many bowling options like Gulbadin makes the job easier.”

With two teams from the group advancing to the semifinals, Australia will now have to win their final match against unbeaten leaders India in St. Lucia on Monday to be assured of a place in the last four.

Afghanistan, also on two points like Australia, will stay in St. Vincent where they face Bangladesh later on Monday by which time they will know what is required to qualify for the semifinals for the first time.


DP World ILT20 franchises retain leading cricket stars for Season 3

 DP World ILT20 franchises retain leading cricket stars for Season 3
Updated 22 June 2024
Follow

DP World ILT20 franchises retain leading cricket stars for Season 3

 DP World ILT20 franchises retain leading cricket stars for Season 3
  • Franchises had option of retaining maximum of two UAE players, with no limit on retention of international players.
  • DP World ILT20 Season 3 to begin from Saturday, Jan. 11, 2025, with final to be played on Sunday, Feb. 9

DUBAI: The six DP World International League T20 franchises have retained a total of 69 players for the tournament’s third season, which will be played from Jan. 11 to Feb. 9, 2025 in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah.

The window for retaining players was opened on June 1 with the teams given two weeks to submit the list of the retained players.

Among the 69 players, 26 players were parts of various ICC men’s T20 World Cup 2024 squads.

The retained players include T20 heavyweights such as Andre Russell, David Willey, Sunil Narine (Abu Dhabi Knight Riders), Alex Hales, Azam Khan, Muhammad Amir, Sherfane Rutherford, Wanindu Hasaranga (Desert Vipers), Dasun Shanaka, David Warner, Rovman Powell, Sam Billings, Sikandar Raza (Dubai Capitals), Chris Jordan, James Vince, Shimron Hetmyer (Gulf Giants), Akeal Hosein, Dwayne Bravo, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Kieron Pollard, Nicholas Pooran, (MI Emirates), Johnson Charles and Tom Kohler-Cadmore (Sharjah Warriors).

Each of the six franchises have retained two UAE players each.

The UAE players retained for Season 3 include Aditya Shetty and Alishan Sharafu (Abu Dhabi Knight Riders), Ali Naseer and Tanish Suri (Desert Vipers), Haider Ali and Raja Akif (Dubai Capitals), Aayan Afzal Khan and Mohammad Zohaib Zubair (Gulf Giants), Muhammad Rohid Khan and Muhammad Waseem (MI Emirates), Junaid Siddique and Muhammad Jawadullah (Sharjah Warriors).

Following the completion of the players' retention window, the teams can now sign new players in the player acquisition window, which will stay open till Sept. 15.

Each franchise can sign a minimum two additional UAE players to complete their quota of four UAE signings after the completion of the ILT20 development tournament, which will be held in October.

 
Retained players for DP World ILT20 Season 3:

Abu Dhabi Knight Riders: Aditya Shetty, Ali Khan, Alishan Sharafu, Andre Russell, Andries Ghous, Charith Asalanka, David Willey, Joe Clarke, Laurie Evans, Michael Pepper and Sunil Narine.

Desert Vipers: Adam Hose, Alex Hales, Ali Naseer, Azam Khan, Bas de Leede, Luke Wood, Michael Jones, Muhammad Amir, Nathan Sowter, Sherfane Rutherford, Tanish Suri and Wanindu Hasaranga.

Dubai Capitals: Dasun Shanaka, David Warner, Dushmantha Chameera, Haider Ali, Raja Akif, Rovman Powell, Sam Billings, Sikandar Raza, Zahir Khan, Jake Fraser McGurk and Oliver Stone.

Gulf Giants: Aayan Afzal Khan, Blessing Muzarabani, Chris Jordan, Dipendra Singh Airee, Gerhard Erasmus, Jamie Overton, James Vince, Jamie Smith, Jordan Cox, Mohammad Zohaib Zubair, Rehan Ahmed, Richard Gleeson and Shimron Hetmyer.

MI Emirates: Akeal Hosein, Andre Fletcher, Daniel Mousley, Dwayne Bravo, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Jordan Thompson, Kieron Pollard, Kusal Perera, Muhammad Rohid Khan, Muhammad Waseem, Nicholas Pooran, Nosthush Kenjige, Vijayakanth Viyaskanth and Waqar Salamkheil.

Sharjah Warriors: Dilshan Madushanka, Johnson Charles, Junaid Siddique, Muhamad Jawadullah, Kusal Mendis, Luke Wells, Peter Hatzoglou and Tom Kohler-Cadmore.


Nortje and De Kock star as South Africa edge England in T20 World Cup

Nortje and De Kock star as South Africa edge England in T20 World Cup
Updated 21 June 2024
Follow

Nortje and De Kock star as South Africa edge England in T20 World Cup

Nortje and De Kock star as South Africa edge England in T20 World Cup
  • The Proteas were well-placed at 92-1 after losing the toss
  • England, chasing a seemingly modest 164 to win, slumped to 61-4

GROS-ISLET, Saint Lucia: Anrich Nortje held his nerve as South Africa remained unbeaten at the T20 World Cup after defeating reigning champions England by seven runs in a thrilling second-round Super Eights clash in St. Lucia on Friday.
England, chasing a seemingly modest 164 to win, slumped to 61-4 thanks to fine South Africa bowling and fielding before a partnership of 78 between Harry Brook (53) and Liam Livingstone (33) took them to 139-5 in the 18th over.
But, with England needing 14 off the last over, Brook chipped a slower ball from fast bowler Nortje and South Africa captain Aiden Markram held a brilliant diving catch over his shoulder as he ran back from mid-off to end a 37-ball innings featuring seven fours.
Two balls later, Sam Curran struck a four but then refused a single, as that would have left lower-order batsman Jofra Archer on strike.
England now needed nine off two balls but Curran could only manage a single, leaving Archer with an impossible task off the final ball as England finished on 156-6.
It was a fine display under pressure by South Africa, often accused of ‘choking’ at major events.
Earlier, the Proteas were well-placed at 92-1 after losing the toss, with De Kock hitting fast bowler Archer for 21 in the fourth over, including two sixes off successive balls.
De Kock, however, was brilliantly caught by leaping England captain and wicketkeeper Jos Buttler off Archer for 65 to end a 38-ball innings featuring four fours and four sixes.
England, however, thought they had dismissed De Kock for 58 only for the third umpire to rule Mark Wood had grassed a low catch in the deep — a key decision in a tight game.
De Kock’s exit sparked a collapse that saw South Africa lose three wickets for 21 runs, with the big-hitting Heinrich Klaasen brilliantly run out by Buttler’s direct hit on the stumps at the non-striker’s end.
But David Miller’s rapid 43 helped take South Africa to 163-6 — and that was just enough.


Bumrah leads India to 47-run win over Afghanistan in Super Eight at T20 World Cup

Bumrah leads India to 47-run win over Afghanistan in Super Eight at T20 World Cup
Updated 20 June 2024
Follow

Bumrah leads India to 47-run win over Afghanistan in Super Eight at T20 World Cup

Bumrah leads India to 47-run win over Afghanistan in Super Eight at T20 World Cup
  • Bumrah’s four-over spell was aided by Arshdeep Singh, who finished with 3-36
  • Spinners Kuldeep Yadav (2-32) and Axar Patel (1-15) shared three wickets as Afghanistan were bowled out for 134 runs

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados: Fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah picked three wickets for just seven runs as India beat Afghanistan by 47 runs in their Super Eight clash at the Twenty20 World Cup on Thursday.
Bumrah’s four-over spell was aided by Arshdeep Singh, who finished with 3-36. Spinners Kuldeep Yadav (2-32) and Axar Patel (1-15) shared three wickets as Afghanistan were bowled out for 134 runs.
Earlier, Suryakumar Yadav scored 53 off 28 balls — his fifth T20 World Cup half-century — as India reached 181-8 in 20 overs after opting to bat.
Yadav hit three sixes and five fours, while Hardik Pandya scored 32 off 24 balls, including two sixes.
India’s next Super Eight game is on Saturday, against Bangladesh in Antigua. Afghanistan will play Australia in St. Vincent, also on Saturday.
Yadav was named player of the match.
“I am clear in my mind how I want to bat,” he said. “There’s a lot of hard work, process and routine involved in it. You just need to know your game plan and just play accordingly. When Hardik (Pandya) came in to bat, we discussed about batting with (aggressive) intent. In the end, we were happy with 180.”
On a slow-paced Barbados wicket, India had made a sluggish start. Skipper Rohit Sharma was out caught for eight, while star batter Virat Kohli only managed run-a-ball 24.
Rishabh Pant, batting at three, provided some acceleration — he scored 20 off 11 balls with four fours.
Afghanistan skipper and wrist spinner Rashid Khan did damage to India’s top order, dismissing both Kohli and Pant, the latter out lbw. It was the first time Khan picked up wickets against India in T20s.
India were down to 62-3 in 8.3 overs, when Yadav played a rescuing hand. He added 28 of 14 balls with Shivam Dube (10) and then the match-turning 60 runs with Pandya.
Yadav’s stand with Pandya came off only 37 balls as India scored 102 runs off the final 10 overs.
Rashid Khan finished with 3-26 in four overs.
Afghanistan’s chase got off to a poor start against Bumrah — he sent back both openers Rahmanullah Gurbaz (11) and Haratullah Zazai (2) cheaply.
In between, Axar Patel struck in the fourth over as Ibrahim Zadran was out for eight, and Afghanistan slipped to 23-3 in 4.1 overs.
Gulbadin Naib and Azatullah Omarzai added 44 off 38 balls for the fourth wicket. Thereafter, India’s spinners struck at regular intervals to restrict their opponents.
Ravindra Jadeja picked 1-20 in three overs. Afghanistan lost their last five wickets for 32 runs across 28 deliveries as India crossed the finish line with ease.